FAAA names winner of Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award

The Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA) has announced Nathan Purnell of SWA Financial Planning as the recipient of the Gwen Fletcher Memorial Award for the first semester of 2024.

Named after the late ‘First Lady of Financial Planning’, the award recognises the highest performing student in the CFP® Certification Unit (CFP C) for each semester, with demonstrable dedication to providing high-quality financial advice.

Mr Purnell is a financial planner at SWA Financial Planning, based in Wollongong, and has a Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Wollongong, as well as a Diploma of Financial Planning. 

Mr Purnell said he enjoyed the challenge of completing the CFP Certification Program.

“I am overjoyed to be named the recipient of the Gwen Fletcher award, and to be honest I am still in shock at hearing this news,” he said.

“Completing the CFP program has given me an enhanced appreciation for the depth of knowledge, skills and professionalism we have within the financial planning industry. 

It was certainly a challenge, and I am grateful that the CFP program allowed me the flexibility to apply myself to the course over a period of time. I particularly enjoyed the client-first approach in every unit.

“The CFP program requires you to apply yourself to a wide range of scenarios and strategies, while always keeping the needs and goals of clients paramount. I believe the program will continue to be a cornerstone in advancing the professionalism of our industry and meeting the needs of a diverse Australian public.

“I treated myself to a nice Italian dinner to celebrate and am certainly looking forward to my study-free evenings and weekends from now on.”

The CFP designation is the largest and best-recognised financial planning designation globally. Research by CoreData for the FAAA found 9 in 10 consumers say they trust a CFP professional to deliver reliable and valuable advice.

FAAA chief executive officer Sarah Abood congratulated Mr Purnell on the win.

“I congratulate Nathan on persevering with his studies alongside his work commitments, his dedication is an exceptional example of the financial planning profession at its best. Gwen Fletcher was a pioneer in financial planning education and elevated the profession to new heights, and I have no doubt that Nathan will continue this proud legacy. 

“The CFP Certification Program is an integral part of the FAAA’s efforts to support technical excellence in financial planning and equip planners with the skills and confidence needed to provide the best quality financial advice to Australians.” 

The CFP designation is the largest and best-recognised financial planning designation globally, with more than 223,700 CFP professionals worldwide, an increase of over five per cent from last year. It is a symbol of excellence for financial planners around the world who are actively committed through higher education and accountability to adhering to world-class professional and ethical standards. The CFP designation offers financial planning professionals a way to differentiate themselves in the profession. 

For more information on the CFP Certification Program, visit .

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